Muscat – Environment Authority (EA) has issued a decision (No 8/2024) to ban the use of all kinds of plastic shopping bags by January 2027 in a phased manner.
The timeline drawn by EA targets specific sectors every six months, beginning with July 1, 2024 set for pharmacies, hospitals and clinics.
Speaking to Muscat Daily, Dr Mohammad Majid al Kasbi, Director of Department of Chemical Materials at EA, informed that the decision to eventually ban all kinds of plastic shopping bags in the country was in drafting since 2012 and involved the cooperation of competent authorities. “The authority has developed a plan to prevent the spread of plastic bags gradually and help people implement it easily.”
The decision factors in aspects of establishing factories for environmentally friendly bags and plastic waste recycling, Kasbi added.
“We now have ten factories producing environmentally-friendly bags and 18 factories recycling plastic waste in an effort to achieve Oman Vision 2040 and a sustainable environment to promote a circular economy.”
EA is coordinating efforts with several relevant authorities, including Consumer Protection Authority, be’ah and the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion to spread awareness on the significance of using environmentally friendly bags.
“We have distributed 500,000 environmentally friendly bags since 2021. EA’s initiatives target school and university students and citizen’s homes in all governorates. Awareness campaigns are held in cooperation with the governor’s offices in wilayats. Many commercial centres have agreed to offer customers eco-friendly bags for free,” Kasbi said.
“The new decision prohibits companies, institutions and individuals from using single-use plastic shopping bags of less than 50 micron thickness.”
He informed that violators of the decision will be liable to pay a fine of no less than RO50 and no more than RO1,000. The fine will double in case of a repeat violation.
About the alternatives available, Kasbi said, “Multiple-use eco-friendly bags made of cloth, paper or other organic materials can be used. These bags can be used over hundreds of times, while plastic shopping bags are used only once and take more than a thousand years to degrade.”
He added that EA will continue to launch initiatives, conduct awareness campaigns and distribute environmentally friendly bags among members of society, and that the authority hopes all citizens and residents will cooperate and use environmentally-friendly plastic bags to achieve the plan.
“Achieving Oman Vision 2040, which focuses on long-term sustainable development, will be expedited with these efforts contributing to a cleaner and healthier environment for future generations. It’s essential to continue raising awareness among the public about the environmental impact of plastic and encouraging responsible consumption.”
Timeline to phase out plastic
July 1, 2024
Pharmacies, hospitals and clinics
January 1, 2025
Shops selling fabrics, textiles, clothing, furniture, household supplies and eyewear; tailoring shops; mobile phone sales and maintenance stores, and watch sales and repair shops
July 1, 2025
Shops selling food, vegetables, fruits and gifts; candy stores and factories; and bakeries selling bread and pastries
January 1, 2026
Stores selling building and construction material, utensils, fodder, grain, agricultural materials and pesticides, ice cream, corn, sweets, nuts, juice, mashakek, honey, dates, irrigation systems, birds, fish, pets and pet foods; nurseries selling plants and agricultural supplies; stores selling and repairing water filters; stores selling and repairing water pumps; and stores selling and repairing car pumps
July 1, 2026
Shops selling blankets, khanjar, gold and silverware; car care centres; and automobile agencies
January 1, 2027
Shops selling electronics, sanitary and electrical materials, fish supplies, television broadcasting equipment, stationery and office supplies, vehicle repair workshops, fishing boat repair workshops, vehicle spare parts, spare parts for fishing equipment, vehicle electricians, vehicle oil changing workshops, vehicle brake repair workshops, tyre selling and repair shops, electrical appliances selling and repair shops, computer selling and repair stores, printing presses and all other activities that use plastic bags.